Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Eocursor parvus
Eocursor is the name of a Dinosaur genus whose fossils were first uncovered back in 1993. It took an additional 14 years for the discovery to be properly studied and described, and the result was a creature whose name translates to "Dawn Runner."

Eocursor lived during the Late Triassic, and is an example of an early Ornithischian. In fact, this creature is the oldest found, and has the most complete skeleton of any early member of it's Order, which has helped to bring in information about the origins of the group. Until this discovery, very little was known at all about the rise of the Ornithischians (a group that includes Stegosaurus and Triceratops).

We don't have a full skeleton of Eocursor, but we do have hands, legs, a pelvis, and skull fragments. These pieces are enough to tell us that the Dinosaur walked on two feet, was a very swift runner, and probably had an omnivorous diet (which we can tell from the teeth).

There is still much to be learned about the origin and evolutionary history of all Dinosaurs, and hopefully future finds will help to fill in some of the breaks in our knowledge. Alas, the fickle nature of fossils, and the incredible environmental needs that have to be met to create them, mean that we won't be able to know it all. But even with a few bones, like the handful found for Eocursor, we can still learn a lot!

Status : Extinct for 210 million years
Location : South Africa
Size : Length around 3ft (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Clade : Dinosauria -- Order : †Ornithischia
Genus : †Eocursor -- Species : † E. parvus

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